Elizabeth "Grandma" Layton
This lady is real cool.
I've been wanting to write about her on my blog.
I saw a drawing that she did for my friend Rick at work, who helped design her book. The drawing, which looked a lot like the one pictured here (I guess she did a lot of self portraits like this) was hanging in his house at this party he had, and I asked him about it. And he told me the story of this cool lady. I don't remember all the details... she had an early divorce... struggled with depression... psychiatric hospital stays even... the death of a child... and what she called "40 years of depression" all changed when she took a drawing class for the first time and began drawing these contour drawings at age 68. She was taught to draw by looking at the subject, and not the paper. "I don't know why it is," she writes, "but this contour drawing has completely cured me of my forty-year depression. I simply don't have it anymore."
A little old lady from smallville kansas with just these weird little naive and deeply genuine drawings...
and her work ends up in the new york art scene and galleries all over the place with art critics calling her genius and everything.
I read on one website that she said: "You know, in the beginning I drew myself as someone who was ugly but I don't see myself that way anymore. Now I draw someone who is beautiful." What treasures. I like art with stories behind them.
"All of us," said Nietzsche, "are potentially hero or genius, only inertia keeps us mediocre."